March 10, 2012

How Li Ka-shing turned $8,700 into $25.5 billion

The richest man in China - and the ninth richest in the world - is Li Ka-shing. He was born in 1928 and is currently based in Hong Kong where he manages his fortune of USD 25.5 billion. Despite his fortune, he has an inexpensive lifestyle and has contribute with USD 1.4 billion to charity.

Everything began in 1950 when he created the company Cheung Kong Industries which manufactured high quality plastic flowers. To get started, he had to pay USD 8700 - the same amount one could buy a car for in 1950. He soon invested in real estates in Hong Kong and acquired various companies. His empire is now involved in banking, construction, real estate, plastics, cellular phones, airports, and so on. The main building of his empire is the Cheung Kong Center where one can find Li Ka-shing's private pool and the world's fastest elevator.

Here are some of his latest investments in technology:
  • Facebook - Li Ka-shing was one of the early investors in Facebook and it took him only 5 minutes to decide that Facebook was a good investment. Facebook did not have any revenues and was valued at USD 15 billion - but Li Ka-shing liked the growth numbers
  • Skype - he invested in Skype only one year before eBay bought it for USD 2.5 billion
  • Spotify
  • Siri - bought by Apple in 2010
  • Waze - a free, community-base traffic & navigation app
  • HzO - protects technology from water
  • Summly - uses AI in a search engine to provide a summary of different content

Source: Wikipedia, The Globe and Mail